Best Auto Parts Stores

Is your car in need of repair? Learn how to find the most reliable auto parts stores.

Vehicles require a lot of maintenance. Some of that maintenance is routine, such as replacing worn out tires. Other vehicle problems are more complicated. Often, vehicle problems are due to faulty or worn out parts. If you find yourself needing replacement parts, it is important to know where to get them. There are many sources from which to pick, but they are not all equal.

There are two primary ways to get auto parts. You can trust your mechanic to supply them, or you can purchase them in person or online from an auto parts store. You may not know which option to choose. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Understanding their potential benefits and drawbacks can help you make a selection. Here are some top things to know before looking for auto parts.

What Are Some Reasons to Get Auto Parts at a Mechanic?

Most mechanics and auto body repair shops prefer that you not bring your own auto parts when you need repairs. They have inventories of parts available or they place custom orders for the parts you need. One reason for that is monetary. When they supply the parts, they dictate the prices. That is why you might think you can save money by purchasing your own parts. 

It is true that you can often save money immediately by purchasing your own parts. However, mechanics also require reliable parts to meet warranty requirements for vehicles still under warranty. If yours is such a vehicle, you must either use parts supplied by your mechanic or parts approved by your mechanic. Otherwise, you run the risk of having to pay more for expensive repairs later due to a voided warranty.

How is Shopping Online for Auto Parts Different?

Online shopping is often hit or miss, regardless of the desired item. For example, you could purchase a sweater online only to find it is too small when it arrives. Similarly, it is easy to purchase auto parts online that are not as you expected. Common problems encountered when purchasing auto parts online include:

  • Receiving the Wrong Parts

  • Accidentally Purchasing Incompatible Parts

  • Receiving Intricate Parts with Missing or Faulty Components

  • Purchasing Used Parts That Wear Out Soon After Purchase

  • Accidentally Purchasing Parts Made Out of Low-Quality Materials

Despite those potential disadvantages, there are several possible benefits of shopping for auto parts online. One is that it is sometimes the only way to find unusual parts. That is a particularly likely possibility if your car is older or somehow unusual. Another advantage of shopping for auto parts online is the ability to quickly compare prices offered through multiple auto parts stores. However, it is important not to shop based on prices alone. When you shop online for auto parts, you can also avoid common problems like:

  • Markups Mechanics Use to Cover Operating Costs

  • Feeling Forced to Purchase Unnecessary Parts

  • Finding Out Your Mechanic Does Not Have the Part You Need

  • Needing to Find Auto Parts Locally During Particular Business Hours

  • Visiting Multiple Local Shops or Mechanics Before Finding Parts You Need

The key to shopping online for auto parts is diligence. You must know the exact parts you need. It is also vital to purchase parts from a reliable source. Do not rely so heavily on cost comparisons that you neglect quality. Check the reputations of the online auto parts stores you view before making purchases.

How Do Low-End and High-End Auto Parts Stores Compare?

Auto parts typically come in three types. The most high-end are the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. When purchased new, they typically meet warranty requirements because they are identical to the original parts used. However, they also tend to cost the most.

Next are aftermarket parts. They are sometimes high-quality, but they also have the potential for low-end quality. Low-quality parts are often made using less durable materials. Therefore, they do not last as long. 

The third category of auto parts is used parts. Used parts are never reliable for warranty purposes. They also come in a wide range of qualities from high-end to low-end. Their reliability depends on factors like their original quality levels and how much use they have already endured. Shopping for used auto parts is also risky because they sometimes have damage or missing pieces.

What Are Some of the Top Auto Parts Stores?

If you plan to purchase your own auto parts, it is best to do so through a well-known, reliable auto parts store. Many such stores exist. Some are probably located in your local area. Others are easily accessible online, and many offer fast shipping options. Here are some of the top auto parts stores:

  • AutoZone has been in business for over 40 years. In that time, it has become one of the most recognized and largest United States auto parts store chains. 

  • Advance Auto Parts, like AutoZone, is an extremely popular auto parts store chain. It operates numerous U.S. brick-and-mortar locations with specific parts inventories. Its website provides access to the full range of the aftermarket parts offered by the company.

  • is an entirely online auto parts store. Its catalog of approximately one million parts includes aftermarket parts for numerous vehicle makes and models. It also frequently publishes useful news articles about auto parts.

  • Napa maintains an extensive inventory of parts available for online order. It also operates over 5,000 locations throughout the United States. Although, the majority of those locations are along the East Coast.

  • O'Reilly Auto Parts also operates over 5,000 U.S. brick-and-mortar stores. Its website provides useful part shopping tools like a brand search option, as well as access to online coupons and deals on aftermarket parts.

What Should You Do After Purchasing Auto Parts?

If you opt to purchase your own auto parts, your next steps are important. For example, you must check to make sure the parts arrive as described. You also need to make sure the parts are installed properly. If you have the experience, you can install some parts yourself. However, it is usually best to pre-select a mechanic willing to install parts you purchase. That way you can get approval to order parts and advice regarding which parts to order.